31 January 2007

The artist as a social worker

Not so long ago I realized that I just couldn't go on drawing and painting as if it was only me and all my fellow art lovers living in this world. No, we are not alone of course. Without noticing I started getting involved in varied projects of different social origin: radio program for Spanish speaking people, a cultural teaching project for children, here giving one painting away for the refugees, there giving for auction for student scholarships, youth camps or hospitals. Every body has a good purpose where an artist can give their work away.
It is fine to think you may help improving the live of others and more important of others you don't know or will know.
But the question is: how far the artist can become a social worker?
How much the society can ask from an artist?
To start with our profession, it is quite unstable in relation to income, it is not necessarily high in the groups' status, for most of us it is years of investment in our profession before we start to get an income, without even talking about an income that has a relation to the effort invested. I have the theory that from artists it is easy to ask a 100%, material, work, time.
I would like that we could be better valued and that it would not be expected from us that we give and give. No, we would like sometimes also to be pampered to.

About the photos I chose. First I couldn't think of a possible image for the text, then it occurred to me that a self portrait with working clothes would make it and as I was picking the photo I automatically thought of Hector Garcia's photo of Siqueiros when he was in jail. Siqueiros was there because of his communist believes. This was just subconscious thinking, it is funny to realize that Siqueiros believed in the artist as a social worker. As I saw the photo again on Internet I decided to add it up. In a way there is a common look of the eyes, so my memory was not that bad. Decide for yourself. I only see intense eyes in both, maybe artists' eyes. And now I also see we are both wearing tough clothes.

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